Jonah Goldberg

And that definitely includes the tea party. A of lot people talk as if the tea partiers came out of the ground, like fully grown orcs, shortly after Obama was elected, ready to inflict "terror" and "take hostages" (to use the preferred lingo of the supposed lovers of civility).

This ignores the prehistory of the tea partiers. They're largely core conservative voters who held their noses while spending ramped up for a decade under George W. Bush. Many rationalized their support for Bush against the backdrop of the war on terror or their fondness for the man generally. But when Obama removed what little conservatism there was in Bush's "compassionate conservatism," massively hiking spending even more, they rebelled. Enough was enough.

Liberals see it as hypocrisy. Tea partiers see it as finally getting serious, which is why they keep threatening to "primary" any Republican who wavers from the new sobriety.

If you've ever known anyone with a serious addiction, the easiest thing for friends and family to do is pretend it's not a big deal. Who wants to have a confrontation? Far easier to let things slide and have a good time. "Let's have a nice Thanksgiving without any arguments, OK?"

The tea party is like the cousin who's been through AA and refuses to pretend anymore. As a result, he spoils everyone's good time. For the enablers, and others in denial, he's the guy ruining everything, not the drunk.

Uncle Sam is the drunk and the tea partiers are the annoyingly sober -- and a bit self-righteous -- cousin. Measured by spending, and adjusted for inflation, the federal government has increased by more than 50 percent in 10 years. Some have enabled the drunken spending, others continue to deny it's even a problem.

The tea party is sounding the wake-up call. If America didn't have a problem, then there really would be good cause to be furious with the forces of sobriety. Nobody likes a party-pooper, especially the people hooked on partying.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Jonah Goldberg's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.

Due to the overwhelming enthusiasm of our readers it has become necessary to transfer our commenting system to a more scalable system in order handle the content.